Monday, January 31, 2011

A day in the life

Melbourne is such a fabulous city to visit. I have been visiting almost annually since I was 19, and there never seems to be enough days in a holiday to take in all the things we plan to do. 

  We try and come a different time each year so that we can make the most of the seasonal sports, arts and sightseeing that Melbourne has to offer. And with Oscar now old enough to enjoy everything that Melbourne has to offer, we've been revisiting some of our favourite places.

  Early this week we had a fabulous day soaking up the sun in St Kilda.

  Yesterday we took a trip through the Yarra Valley and quaffed our way through some very delicious wines. Today were off to the Aquarium, I have a feeling Finding Nemo will be Oscar's favourite movie by this evening!

I hope you've got a lovely day planned too xx

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Australia Day!

How delightful spending a patriotic Australia Day in Melbourne with my sister and our little tribes.

After a morning spent dressing to the nines in red, white and blue we spent our day taking in the sights and sounds of the Botanical Gardens.

Amelie and Oscar had a fabulous time chasing each other through the gardens, rolling down the grassy hills and grooving to the sounds of Mambo at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. They loved the childrens animal farm, and had such fun feeding the ducks, goats and sheep with big handfuls of grass.

Oscar's favourite part of the day was listening to the thunderous roar of the Roulette planes and watching in awe as they flew overhead.

It was wonderful spending this auspicious day with our close family and joining the Melbourne community as we declared our Aussie pride.

I hope you too had a lovely day and celebrated in true Aussie style xx

Blogged on the go using Blogpress for iPhone

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let's fly away

Holidaying isn't quite as simple as it used to be. I fondly recall the days of last minute flights, throwing my clothes into a suitcase and spending my days eating, shopping and drinking. Packing now takes two full days and you could be forgiven for thinking we were relocating not heading off for a two week holiday!

But oh the fun of visiting Melbourne now that my sister and I have had bambinos. Endless days of overindulgence have been replaced with picnics in the park, visits to the wildlife farm and long afternoons playing on the swings or flying a kite. 

Oscar loves visiting his cousin Amelie. They spend their time together laughing, giggling, dancing and playing chasey. There's never a dull moment, nor a better reason to relax at night with a glass of champagne!

We're currently waiting for Amelie to arrive home from her Gran's house so that we can chase bubbles through the garden and play with puppy Chloe. How I wish I could bottle some of that endless energy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hoorah I won! Handmade Kids and Ruby & the Dodo Flood Appeal

Thank you to everyone who visited the Handmade Kids and Ruby & the Dodo Flood Appeal page and placed a bid on one of their gorgeous items. I hope you found something delightful to take home. I was very excited to to be notified that I had the winning bid on this gorgeous set of original prints designed by Jessie from Art Candy Boutique. They are so adorable, and are going to look perfect in Mathilda's nursery.

At last count the appeal had raised more than $17 000 for QLD flood victims. What an amazing show of generosity, and that's through just one of the many appeals being run through Facebook. I'm still fervently watching my bids on other items from the Summerblossom Flood Relief Charity Auction. If you haven't already had a look at the gorgeous items on offer, why not pop on over now?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Splish splash I was taking a bath

   I find it quite ironic that as the east of Australia was being deluged by torrential rain, we here in the west were sweltering in 38 + degree temperatures. Ridiculous as it sounds, I was praying for some rain to ease the unbearable weather.

And lets not forget that only weeks earlier, the north of Western Australia was facing flooding of its own. Carnarvon and surrounding residents were evacuated as the Gascoyne River reached record levels.

It's quite a poignant tale of how mother nature can encumber our wide country with complete extremes of weather. And as Australians we battle on as best we can.

Thankfully with the heat, we here in the west got the better deal. As horrid as the oppressive temperatures were, we at least found some relief by splish splashing in the bath all afternoon. Oscar has a whale of a time creating his own mini tsunami in the laundry.


I guess you could point out the irony of little kids in the east paddling boats down their main street. What a crazy world we live in!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I heart the blogging world

I'm quite new to the blogging world. I'd thought about writing a blog for over a year before I finally bit the bullet, and in mid December 'A Country Wife' was born. As a blogging novice, you can imagine my surprise when I opened one of my favourite blogs, Mamma Musing, to find I'd been nominated for the Stylish Blogger Award. Thank you Kate! Mamma Musing is a gorgeous blog about the juggle of life as a home improver and working mamma, and a very cheeky two year old called Amelie. It is my inspiration.

One could say Kate is a little biased about my blogging skills, being my beautiful sister and all, but it seems she's not alone. I was very chuffed to find another of my favourite blogs, Happiness Is.... had nominated me too! Thank you Tan! Happiness Is... follows the busy life of wife, mamma and two adorable little girls called Matilda and Willow. I find I have so much in common with Mrs Richo, it's a joy to know you're not alone in the world of kid wrangling!
So my requested tasks to receive this award are:

Thank and link back the person who gave me this award
Share 7 things about myself
Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers
Contact these bloggers and tell them about my award.

7 things about myself

1. I am the youngest of three girls. My beautiful mum and two sisters are my best friends.

2. I spent most of my childhood and all of my teenage years on stage dancing, singing and acting. Noone was more surprised then me when I stepped off the stage at age 17 and never stepped back on again.

3. I have lots of freckles and always wanted a dalmatian so we could be spotty together. 

4. I grew up a city girl, but know in my heart I'll live the rest of my life in the country. There's something about all this open space that fills me with peace.

5. I'm a shopaholic and a chocoholic. Never stand between me and either of these two things!

6. It wasn't until my little man Oscar was born that I finally believed I could be a good mum. I spend every day amazed that these two incredible little people are my own.

I couldn't decide between my last two points, so I just decided to add them both!

7. I'm a perfectionist. I need order. Sadly this doesn't extend to my ability in keeping an immaculate house (as much as I wish I could).

8. I don't like crowds. I prefer to have a small number of very good friends and I would do anything in the world for them.


These are some of my favourite recently discovered blogs. I urge you to pop on over and take a look yourself.

1. Mamma Musing - my beautiful sister and award nominator xx
2. Happiness Is... - my other lovely nominator 
3. Homely One
4. One Perfect Day
5. Life on Planet Baby
6. Gifts of Serendipity  
7. A Birds Eye View
8. Lifes Little Whispers
9. undomestic/mumma 
10. oesch and doots

 My four favourite craft/ handmade blogs.

1. plushka's craft
2. My Friend Matilda
3. Skinflint's Blog
4. Messy Freckle

I have discovered so many lovely blogs and made such lovely friends since joining the blogging world. If you can suggest some new blogs for me to discover, I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Flood Appeal Auction

Like so many of you, I'm struggling to come to grips with the devastation caused by floods across Queensland. I shed a tear this afternoon at the irony of watering my new garden and quenching its thirst after a scorching hot day in the sun. As we played under the sprinklers I couldn't help but think of the poor children who were threatened by walls of water and torrential rain. Of the people of QLD as they struggle to come to grips with the devastating aftermath of mother nature at her worst. I've never faced a natural disaster, but have always felt so helpless when heart wrenching details of floods and fires around the world are played out on the nightly news.

When the the Black Saturday fires ravaged parts of Victoria in 2008, I donated as many blankets, clothes and personal items as I could. It goes without question that I will do the same for the people of QLD. It just never seems enough though, and as the hearts of so many Australian people open, I am always looking for ways to do more. 

It was tonight on facebook that I found the appeal I was looking for. Handmade Kids and Ruby & the Dodo Flood Appeal is aiming to raise funds for the 2011 QLD Flood Appeal by auctioning off generously donated handmade items from small businesses across Australia. 100% of proceeds will go to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal. Another similar facebook based appeal is the Summerblossom Flood Relief Charity Auction. I already have a long list of beautiful items I'll be bidding on!

So if you too are looking for ways to help, please visit these flood appeal pages. Not only will you have the chance to take home a beautiful handmade gift, you'll be helping to ease the pain of victims and their families.

And while on the subject of handmade gifts, please pop over and see my post about paying it forward. I'd love for you to take home one of the two remaining gifts I have on offer xx

Monday, January 10, 2011

Backyard blitz

 Despite the atrocious weather over the weekend, we resolved to start and finish a gardening blitz on our backyard. This time last year I must have considered myself a much better gardener than I really am. Despite being notoriously hard to grow, I thought it a wonderful idea to fill my newly dug bed with some beautiful mature camellia's. Three dead and two very sick plants later I've decided that cottage gardening really isn't my forte, and it's time I turned to the much more realistic genre of native gardening.

Time for a trip back to the nursery, where we chose some beautiful grevillea and diosma plants to resurrect our country garden. The surviving camellia's have made their way into wine barrels and I hope for my dignities sake they don't also join their friends in plant heaven!

Did I mention that even my potted daisies succumbed to my 
dismal gardening skills ? We decided strawberries might  
be a little simpler to keep alive..... at least I hope! 

Another task for the weekend was painting our rather unattractive sunshine yellow shed a nice deep grey to match the roofing of our newly erected patio. Our patio is the pride and joy of my husband, and deserved of a blog post all on its own! 

Our shed with its new lease on life, and our newly planted grevilleas 

 Yes, there are some diosma hiding in there somewhere!

Lastly, with our golden retrievers no longer as agile as they used to be, we decided to paint and lower our side fence. How nice it is to now be able to see beyond our backyard and down to where all the hustle and bustle of our farm takes place. Lets just hope Oscar's legs don't grow long enough for him to scale the fence anytime soon! I have enough trouble keeping an eye on him as it is!

There's such a feeling of satisfaction that comes from finishing a big job. We couldn't possibly have done it all without our little helper though, whose job was to quality control every single sprinkler his dada installed and keep the water up on our newly established plants. Bless his little blue boots!

Something lovely to do together

Last night as I was browsing through blogland, I came across a lovely blog called With my own two hands and a post about paying it forward. What a wonderful idea! I was lucky to be among the first to sign up, and am very excited about playing along.

So here goes:

I promise something handmade to the FIRST 5 people who leave a comment here. However, to be eligible, you must repost this message, offering something handmade to 5 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade by you, and it must be sent to your 5 giftees sometime in 2011. Ready, set, GO!

Now I'm not one of the most crafty people in blogland (nor do I even come close, ha ha) but I do promise your gift will be made with love and something I am proud to pay forward. Once you are one of the first five to comment, please repost this on your own blog and send me the link. And don't forget to email me with your postal details.

Who will be receiving a lovely gift from A Country Wife? I can't wait to see xx

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cooking with the Heart Foundation

I recently took part in my first Soup marketing project, and boy was it fun! "Soup is Australia's first word of mouth marketing agency, and is for people who love having their say and want to be involved in shaping the future of brands and products". Does that sound like you? Well pop on over and become a Soup Mama too!

I was chosen to participate in the Heart Foundation project about saturated fats. The challenge was to cook some tasty treats using margarine instead of butter and see what my family and friends thought of the results. What a perfect excuse to have some friends over for morning tea!

Soup included a book of yummy recipes to try out, so Oscar and I have had a fabulous time cooking cakes, scones and quiches for our friends. As someone who has never cooked with margarine, I was surprised by how delicious the food was, and how well margarine replaced butter in some of my favourite recipes. I'd always thought margarine was highly processed and no good for you, turns out I was quite wrong. Some brands of margarine have less than 15% saturated fat, a mere drop of the 50% or more saturated fat found in butter!

An unexpected bonus of this project is I've been making a lot more of Oscar's snacks from scratch instead of relying on store bought fruit bars and rice cakes. Not only have our morning teas been delicious and healthy, we've been having so much fun cooking together. 

I thought I'd share with you one of Oscar's favourite recipes from the Heart Foundation project, I hope you enjoy baking and eating it as much as we do! 

Apple and Sultana cupcakes


2 medium green apples, peeled and grated
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tsp ground cinammon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup low fat milk
125 g salt reduced margarine spread, melted
1/2 cup sultanas
zest of one lemon


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake papers.

2. Beat margarine, sugar and eggs using an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat for about 5 minutes or until thick and creamy.

3. Add the grated apple, milk, sultanas and lemon zest. Beat on low until combined.

4. In a separate bowl sift together the self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinammon. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. Do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

5. Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack.

6. Most importantly, ENJOY more then one!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hoot hoot

I am an owlover. I adore them; their quiet hoot and their big brown eyes.

I came across an adorable blog last night. My Owl Barn features everything an owl lover needs to satisfy their love of feathered friends.

Etsy (of course) is my other treasure trove for owl inspired softies, wall decorations and paper products. I have chosen these delightful friends to decorate Mathilda's new room.


wall art by ModernDecals

owl clock by decoylab

 little felt owl by Katia from Plushka Craft
 And these adorable wall prints for Oscar's room

Oh decorating, how I love thee!

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